Entrepreneurship is a pitch: determining successful persuasive processes utilized during entrepreneurial venture pitches

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University of Alabama Libraries

Entrepreneurial Venture Pitches represent a form of persuasive communication used by entrepreneurs to solicit venture funding from investors. This form of persuasive communication is best known by audiences familiar with primetime television shows, such as Shark Tank, and online streaming shows, such as Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch. Though this form of communication is relatively well-known by common audiences, there is a rather small body of academic literature specific to the fields of entrepreneurship and communication focusing on the entrepreneurial venture pitch through the lens of argumentation and persuasion theories. Content analysis was used to examine entrepreneur venture pitches and answers, as well as investor deliberations and answers, from ventures being presented on Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch. The Content Analysis was constructed through a theoretical framework employing Petty & Cacioppo’s (1981) Elaboration Likelihood Model, Toulmin’s (1958) Theory of Argumentation, and Cialdini’s (2007) Issues or Weapons of Influence. Though well-established and utilized theories within the field of communication, Petty & Cacioppo (1981), Toulmin (1958), and Cialdini (2007) have been less prominently and rigorously applied within the field of entrepreneurship, specifically, in regards to entrepreneur venture pitches. Results gained from content analysis determined that two persuasive processes, Argument and Message Quality, result in successfully funded venture pitches. Source Attractiveness and Credibility were also used, but only in mid and low levels by entrepreneurs and investors during successful venture pitches.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Communication, Entrepreneurship, Business education